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Count. Such friends are thine enemies, knave.
Cln. You are shallow, madam; e'en great friends;7 for the knaves come to do that for me, which I am a-weary of.8 He, that ears my land, o spares my team,
7 Clo. You are shallow, madam; e’en great friends ;] The meaning [i. e. of the ancient reading mentioned in the subsequent note] seems to be, you are not deeply skilled in the character or offices of great friends. Johnson.
The old copy reads--in great friends; evidently a mistake for e'en, which was formerly written e'n. The two words are so near in sound, that they might easily have been confounded by an inattentive hearer.
The same mistake has happened in many other places in our author's plays. So, in the present comedy, Act III, sc. ii, folio, 1623:
“ Lady. What have we here?
“ Clown. In that vou have there." Again, in Antony and Cleopatra:
“No more but in a woman. Again, in Twelfth Night:
“ 'Tis with him in standing water, between boy and man." · The corruption of this passage was pointed out by Mr. Tyrwhitt. For the emendation now made, I am answerable.
“ I could but be her subject; so I am now.
that ears my land,] To ear is to plough. So, in Antony and Cleopatra:
and gives me leave to inn the crop: if I be his cuckold, he's my drudge: He, that comforts my wife, is the cherisher of my flesh and blood; he, that cherishes my flesh and blood, loves my flesh and blood; he, that loves my flesh and blood, is my friend: ergo, he that kisses my wife, is my friend. If men could be contented to be what they are, there were no fear in marriage; for young Charbon the puritan, and old Poysam the papist, howsoe'er their hearts are severed in religion, their heads are both one, they may joll horns together, like any deer i' the herd.
Count. Wilt thou ever be a foul-mouthed and calumnious knave?
Clo. A prophet I, madam; and I speak the truth the next way:
For I the ballad will repeat,
Which men full true shall find;
Your cuckoo sings by kind.2
“ Make the sea serve them, which they ear and wound
• With keels of every kind.” Steevens. See 1 Sam. viii, 12. Isaiah, xxx, 24. Deut. xxi, 4. Gen. xlv, 6. Exod. xxxiv, 21, for the use of this verb. Henley.
1 A prophet I, madam, and I speak the truth the next way:) It is a superstition, which has run through all ages and people, that natural fools have something in them of vinity. On which account they were esteemed sacred: Travellers tell us in what esteem the Turks now hold them; nor had they less honour paid them heretofore in France, as appears from the old word benet, for a natural fool. Hence it was that Pantagruel, in Rabelais, advised Panurge to go and consult the fool Triboulet as an oracle; which gives occasion to a satirical stroke upon the privy council of Francis the First --Par l'avis, conseil, prediction des fols vus scavez quants princes, &c. ont esté conservez, &c. The phrase-speak the truth the next way, means directly; as they do who are only the instruments or canals of others; such as inspired persons were supposed to be. Warburton. See the popular story of Nixon the Idiot's Cheshire Prophecy.
Douce. Next way, is nearest way. So, in K. Henry IV, Part I:
“'Tis the next way to turn tailor,” &c. Steevens. Next way is a phrase still used in Warwickshire, and signifies without circumlocution, or going about. Henley.
sings by kind.] I find something like two of the lines of this ballad in John Grange's Garden, 1577:
Count. Get you gone, sir; I'll talk with you more
Stew. May it please you, madam, that he bid Helen come to you; of her I am to speak.
Count, Sirrah, tell my gentlewoman, I would speak with her; Helen I mean.
tr Clo. Was this fair face the cause, quoth she, [Singing.
Why the Grecians sacked Troy?
Was this king Priam's joy.
“ Content yourself as well as I, let reason rule your minde, “As cuckoldes come by destinie, so cuckowes sing by kinde."
Steevens. 3 Was this fair face the cause, &c.] The name of Helen, whom the Countess has just called for, brings an old ballad on the sack. ing of Troy to the Clown's mind. Malone.
This is a stanza of an old ballad, out of which a word or two are dropt, equally necessary to make the sense and alternate rhyme. For it was not Helen, who was king Priam's joy, but Paris. The third line, therefore, should be read thus :
Fond done, fond done, for Paris, he Wirburton. If this be a stanza taken from any ancient ballad, it will probably in time be found entire, and then the restoration may be made with authority. Steevens.
In confirmation of Dr. Warburton's conjecture, Mr. Theobald has quoted, from Fletcher's Maid in the Mill, the following stan. za of another old ballad:
66 And here fair Paris comes,
“ The hopeful youth of Troy, “ Queen Hecuba's darling son,
“King Priam's only joy." This renders it extremely probable, that Paris was the person described as “king Priam's joy” in the ballad quoted by our author; but Mr. Heath has justly observed, that Dr. Warburton, though he has supplied the words supposed to be lost, has not explained them; nor, indeed, do they seem, as they are connect. ed, to afford any meaning. In 1585 was entered on the Station. ers' books, by Edward White, The Lamentation of Hecuba, and the Ladyes of Troye; which probably contained the stanza here quoted. Malone
I am told that this work is little more than a dull amplification of the latter part of the twenty-fourth Book of Homer's Iliad. I also learn, from a memorandum by Dr. Farmer, that The Life and Death of St. George, a ballad, begins as follows:
“Of Hector's deeds did Homer sing,
“ And of the sack of stately Troy;
“ Which was Sir Paris' only joy.” Steedens.
With that she sighed as she stood,
And gave this sentence then;
There's yet one good in ten..
Clo. One good woman in ten, madam; which is a purifying o' the song: 'Would God would serve the world so all the year! we'd find no fault with the tythe
woman, if I were the parson: One in ten, quoth a'! an -butone we might have a good woman born"but"every blazing
star,? or at an earthquake, 'twould mend the lottery well;& a man may draw his heart out, ere he pluck one.
4 Fond done,] Is foolishly done. So, in King Richard III, Act III, sc. iji:
Sorrow and grief of heart, “Makes him speak fondly.” Steevens. 5 With that she sighed as she stood,] At the end of the line of which this is a repetition, we find added in Italick characters the word bis, denoting, I suppose, the necessity of its being repeated. The corresponding line was twice printed, as it is here in. serted, from the oldest copy. Steevens.
Among nine bail if one be good,
There's yet one good in ten] This second stanza of the ballad is turned to a joke upon the women: a confession, that there was one good in ten. Whereon the Countess observed, that he corrupted the song; which shows the song said-nine good in ten.
If one be bad amongst nine good,
There's but one bai in ten. This relates to the ten sons of Priam, who all behaved themselves well but Paris. For though he once had fifty, yet, at this unfortunate period of bis reign, he bad but ten; Agathon, Antiphon, Deiphobus, Dius, Hector, Helenus, Hippothous, Pammon, Paris, and Polites. Warburton.
- but every blazing star,] The old copy reads--but ore every blazing star. Steevens.
I suppose o'er was a misprint for or, which was used by our old writers for before. Malone.
'twould mend the lottery well;] This surely is a strange kind of phraseology. I have never met with any example of it in any of the contemporary writers; and if there were any proof that in the lotteries of Queen Elizabeth's time wheels were employed, I should be inclined to read-lottery wheel. Malone. a and mending of the sex
Count. You 'll be gone, sir knave, and do as I command you?
Clo. That man should be at woman's command, and yet no hurt done! Though honesty be no puritan, yet it will do no hurt; it will wear the surplice of humility over the black gown of a big heart. 9– I am going, forsooth: the business is for Helen to come hither.
9 Clo. That man &e.) The Clown's answer is obscure. His lady bids him do as he is commanded. He answers, with the li. centious petulance of his character, that if a man does as a woman commands, it is likely he will do amiss; that he does not amiss, being at the command of a woman, he makes the effect, not of his lady's goodness, but of his own honesty, which, though not very nice or puritanical, will do no hurt; and will not only do no hurt, but, unlike the puritans, will comply with the injunctions of superiors, and wear the surplice of humility over the black gown of a big heart; will obey commands, though not much pleased with a state of subjection.
Here is an allusion, violently enough forced in, to satirize the obstinacy with which the puritans refused the use of the ecclesiastical habits, which was, at that time, one principal cause of the breach of the union, and, perhaps, to insinuate, that the modest purity of the surplice was sometimes a cover for pride. Johnson.
The aversion of the puritans to a surplice is alluded to in many of the old comedies. So, in Cupid's Whirligig, 1607 :
She loves to act in as clean linen as any gentlewoman of her function about the town; and truly that the reason that your sincere puritans cannot abide a surplice, because they say 'tis made of the same thing that your villainous sin is committed
your prophane holland.” Again, in The Match at Midnight, 1633:
“ He has turn'd my stomach for all the world like a puritan's at the sight of a surplice.” Again, in The Hollander, 1640 :
A puritan, who, because he saw a surplice in the church, would needs hang himself in the bell-ropes.” Steevens.
I cannot help thinking we should read-- Though honesty be a puritan
Tyrwhitt. Surely Mr. Tyrwhitt's correction is right. If our author had meant to say—though honesty be no puritan,—why should he add -that it would wear the surplice, &c. or, in other words, that it would be content to assume a covering that puritans in general reprobated? What would there be extraordinary in this ? Is it matter of wonder that he who is no puritan, should be free from the scruples and prejudices of one?
The Clown, I think, means to say, “ Though honesty be rigid and conscientious as a puritan, yet it will not be obstinate, but